Page 1: Participant Information Sheet

The title of the research project

Promoting the mental wellbeing of postgraduate research (PGR) students

Invitation to take part

You are being invited to take part in a research project. Before you decide it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Please ask if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether or not you wish to take part.

Who is organising the research?

This research is part of a PhD research project funded by Bournemouth University.

What is the purpose of the project?

This research is concerned with investigating the factors affecting the wellbeing of postgraduate research (PGR) students studying at UK universities. There has been much interest in the mental wellbeing of undergraduate students but there is a need for more research exploring factors underpinning the mental wellbeing amongst PGR students. The factors affecting PGR wellbeing require further exploration but without sufficient support, poor mental health and wellbeing can affect students’ academic performance, programme and career attrition.

This survey is an integral part of a 3-year project aims to design and implement an evidence-based, pilot interventions as part of a feasibility study in order to promote mental wellbeing in PGRs at Bournemouth University. The objective of this online survey is to understand the mental wellbeing of current UK PGRs. It is important to note that this survey is NOT designed to recognise or diagnose any mental health disorders, nor will feedback be provided on your own mental wellbeing. If you do feel distressed at any time during this research there are many support resources available to download from Student Minds https://www.studentminds.org.uk/resources.html. If you feel like you need urgent support then please contact Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ via phone: 116 123 or via email: jo@samaritans.org.

Why have I been chosen?

You have been chosen to take part in this research as a PGR student studying at a UK higher education institution.

Do I have to take part?

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to proceed, beginning the online questionnaire will mean that you agree to take part.  You can withdraw from participation during the online survey at any time and without giving a reason.  If you decide to withdraw you can close the browser page at any time and this will remove any data collected about you from the study.  Once you have finished the online questionnaire and submitted your responses you will not be able to withdraw your data. This is because it will be incorporated into a dataset and will become anonymous, so your identity cannot be determined, and it will not be possible to identify your data within the anonymous dataset.  .

What would taking part involve?

Taking part will involve completing an online survey at a time convenient to you. This is expected to take no longer than a maximum of 30 minutes.

What are the advantages and possible disadvantages or risks of taking part?

Whilst there are no immediate benefits for those people participating in the project, it is hoped that this research will inform the design of an effective interventions to promote wellbeing that will be piloted in 2020. Your responses will be invaluable to the design process of this intervention which will potentially benefit the mental wellbeing of future PGR students at Bournemouth University and will be disseminated to other UK universities. There are no foreseen risks to participating in this research project.

What type of information will be sought from me and why is the collection of this information relevant for achieving the research project’s objectives?

The online survey will consist of some demographic questions which will be useful for the categorization and statistical analysis of the data and a range of likert scale questions which will help the researcher to understand your experience as a PGR and how this may impact your mental wellbeing.

How will my information be kept?

All the information we collect about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly in accordance with current data protection legislation.  Research is a task that we perform in the public interest, as part of our core function as a university.  Bournemouth University (BU) is a Data Controller of your information which means that we are responsible for looking after your information and using it appropriately.  BU’s Research Participant Privacy Notice sets out more information about how we fulfil our responsibilities as a data controller and about your rights as an individual under the data protection legislation.  We ask you to read this Notice so that you can fully understand the basis on which we will process your information. 

Publication

You will not be able to be identified in any external reports, case studies or publications about the research. Your information will only be included in these materials in an anonymous form, i.e. you will not be identifiable. 

Research results will be published within the PhD thesis and in other journals relevant to studies of higher education or public mental health.

Security and access controls

BU will hold the information we collect about you on a BU password protected secure network where held electronically. Except where it has been anonymised your personal information will be accessed and used only by appropriate, authorised individuals and when this is necessary for the purposes of the research or another purpose identified in the Privacy Notice. This may include giving access to BU staff or others responsible for monitoring and/or audit of the study, who need to ensure that the research is complying with applicable regulations.

Sharing and further use of your personal information

The information collected about you in this study may be used in an anonymous form to support other research projects in the future and access to it in this form will not be restricted. It will not be possible for you to be identified from this data.  Anonymised data will be added to BU’s Data Repository (a central location where data is stored) and which will be publicly available.

Retention of your data

All personal data collected for the purposes of this study will be held for 5 years after the award of the degree.  Although published research outputs are anonymised, we need to retain underlying data collected for the study in a non-anonymised form for a certain period to enable the research to be audited and/or to enable the research findings to be verified.

Contact for further information

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact the researcher, Chloe Casey, at ccasey@bournemouth.ac.uk.

In case of complaints

Any concerns about the study should be directed to Chloe Casey or Dr Steve Trenoweth, Dr Julia Taylor or Dr Fiona Knight, the project supervisors. If you concerns have not been answered by the researcher you should contact the DDRPP, Professor Vanora Hundley, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University by email to researchgovernance@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Finally

Thank you for considering taking part in this research project.